Monthly Archives

March 2015

Spring Equinox: The perfect time to reclaim your practice.

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The Spring Equinox is the mark in time at which the day and night are of equal length.spring

It also marks the beginning of the spring season. This is when we roll down the windows, shake out the carpets, and give everything a good scrub down. Nature uses it as a big old reset button. Everything starts to come to life and breathe anew.  Animals (including us) use this time to prepare for what is to come.

Our bodies are naturally in tune with this restart.  We naturally want to move more and feel free.  The premise of “spring cleaning” is to shake off the old, reclaim the new and purge, purge, purge! This translates perfectly to your Yoga practice.  Do away with what you have accumulated during the long cold winter, eliminate the stories you have created around certain poses.  Are there poses you tell yourself you just can’t do??  Get rid of that story and start preparing for when you can do this pose.

images9A8N38VLTake this fresh start as a chance to change your perspective, eliminate the excuses you have spent all winter creating about specific classes you just can’t make it to because you are a “morning/night person” – 6am, I am looking at you!!

Take stock of what truly isn’t working, physically and mentally, in your practice and give yourself permission to stop doing that.  Stop forcing your breakthroughs, stop future-tripping about the class you might not be able to make because of other commitments…during the class you are currently in.

Just write yourself the following permission slip:

I WILL NOT________ BECAUSE IT ISNT SERVING ME or MY PRACTICE.

Seriously, write it on a post-it and stick it to your yoga mat.  Announce it!!

Our practices need the change the spring equinox creates and your body needs different poses and different sequences at different points in the year.  Maybe you need to step up to the edge in certain areas of your practice or maybe you need to dial it back and focus on the basics just to see what blooms.

Also, take this time to reassess your goals. They shouldn’t be the same as the winter months. Take stock to decide and announce what this season holds for you.  Do you need to work on staying in the moment or do you need to let go of fear and let your muscles (and not your mind) tell you how far you can go?images2VO8GA5J

Use this Natural Reset to get the most out of the next 91 days (give or take a few hours).  Shake off the old, purge the unnecessary, and clean up everything that is left.  Enjoy where this new perspective will take you and be thankful for the clean slate!

 

Enjoy what flourishes from your renewed commitment,

Amber

Yoga Pose of the Month – Bird of Paradise

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Bird of Paradise was probably the first advanced pose I conquered near the beginning of my practice!  I have had a few “quick, somebody take my picture” moments associated with this pose.  So, needless to say, I have a loving, prideful feeling tied to this Power Yoga Canada -Pose of the Month.

 

Bird of Paradise in the non-yoga world can either refer to a flower or an actual bird!  Both of which are beautiful and kind of funky!!  Seriously, check out this feathery friends!!!bird of paradise1

The flower is beautiful and strong and fully expresses the elegance of this pose. The B.O.P. flower stands strong on one lovely, long and powerful stalk which truthfully represents the strength needed in your stationary leg and core to properly pull off this pose. It usually has bold petals that mimic the final stance of the Yoga pose. It is definitely not a flower that can sneak by unnoticed.  Because the pose incorporates a full bind upon completion that opens up your chest, it really comes across as bold and powerful as the flower.BOP1

 

The Sanskrit name for this pose is Svarga Dvidasanas.  Dvija means “twice born” and refers both to the bird (born once as an egg and again as the bird itself) and the pose, which requires two poses to reach a proper Bird of Paradise posture. Svarga means Paradise referring to the bird’s origin in New Guinea – in case you were wondering!

 

When I was researching this pose, the Sanskrit name really resonated with me. This advanced pose requires several steps to successfully come into and out of properly.  Check out Kinndli’s video to see what I am talking about.  I find this pose has two distinct stages or births.  Moving from your extended side angle to a full bind is one transformation and then using that plateau to step forward and rise into a full Bird of Paradise definitely feels like a second birth or “coming into yourself”.  The end product is a fabulous photo opportunity to impress your friends and fellow yogis and I dare you to strike this pose and not smile!

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Physiologically it is a hip and chest opener AND it is a great way to stretch and strengthen your hamstrings!  Finding that combination is quite rare in yoga and it really does feel like you are cracking out of your shell and emerging as that beautiful flower.

 

Bird of Paradise is a pose that invokes pride and elegance and can really enhance the benefits of your practice.  Check out your studios Facebook page and upload your Bird of Paradise to the Facebook pages for your chances at free workshops and classes.

 

Good Luck and let your Birds of Paradise soar,

 

Amber

Kids Yoga – Putting the “Break” back in March Break

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Between the strangle hold Winter has had on us and the amped up expectations for Spring, it is no wonder, that the powers that be instituted a week long break at this time of year! It is a chance for the kids to shake off the old, recharge their batteries and get used to playing outside again. The time change allows for longer/brighter evenings and we are all excited at the chance to go outside with only one layer on!March Break
The problem arises when we (as parents) try to figure out what to do with our kids for the week. Stay-at-home or working parents it is still a struggle to find the balance between over-programmed and bored-to-tears.

There are literally thousands of choices for kids during March Break including; vacations, day trips, time with the Grandparents, workshops and camps. Every major attraction has discounted specials and special activities and there is enormous pressure on parents to not have the kid whose response to “What did you do this March Break Tommy?’ be “I don’t know” or worse “nothing”….
We hear the advice as parents to not over-program our kids and risk them losing their abilities to entertain themselves. We become expected “cruise directors” that are on 24/7 so that god-forbid no one gets “bored”.

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So how do we find the balance?? I have found over my many years of parenting, many parent friends and running fitness camps for kids that listening is the KEY. We need to involve them and give them choices. One of the best ways for us and our kids to listen is first remembering how to tune into what we really need. On Family Day (way back in February) I signed little Izzy up for a kid’s yoga workshop at PYC Oshawa with Kerry Stewart-Moeller! It was fantastic! She really let the kids decompress. She kept them moving but also reconnected them with their own intuition. They learned to listen to themselves, move their bodies and really have a chance to recharge.
Kerry was able to show the kids that they could entertain themselves (without a screen) and gave them skills to practice outside of the yoga studio so they could easily obtain that feeling anywhere, at any time! The crazy part was the kids weren’t even aware that they were learning, they were just having fun and playing with their new friends.
Kerry teaches them mindfulness through breathing techniques and visualization. She connects them with their bodies and teaches them how to listen to their inner compass! This year she is offering a kids March Break Workshop on Monday AND she is opening it up to Kids AND Parents on Wednesday. Watching the kids learn trust and compassion through partner yoga is a great way to reconnect with your own kid over the break.March Break2
The kids yoga programs at PYC are exactly what March Break is about, check out your closest location and see what they have to offer for your munchkin.
As Ghandi says “If we wish to create peace, we must begin with the Children” what a fabulous lesson to instil over March Break and all without a long line-up or a screen insight!
Happy March Break and whatever you end doing over the next 7 days make sure you listen to yourselves and your children. Your gut will never lead you wrong!
Namaste,
Amber

Hello PYC & Thanks For Proving Me Wrong!

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Hey PYC!

I have been practicing yoga at the PYC Oshawa location since shortly after they opened. Recently I was given the awesome opportunity to dive deeper into the community as a guest blogger for the Power Yoga Canada site. I am super excited to embrace this opportunity and share some of my insights around compassionate living and the practice of Yoga.

I have been in the fitness industry for over 15 years, mainly in a municipal setting. I have trained clients, and trained staff to train clients. I have seen the trends come and go; I have seen studio’s fold and gym’s lock their doors on fully paid members.

I had become quite jaded with private fitness and perceived my way as “better”. So I am not quite sure how I found myself in Kelly and Debbie’s studio shortly after their doors had opened. But it was like walking through Alice’s “looking glass” – people were hanging out, sharing thoughts, dreams and goals for their yoga life, as well as their personal life. It was like all forms of judgement had been checked at the door and EVERYONE of all shapes, sizes and gender were welcome.

Open-Evening_featureAlthough I tried to turn off my “Fitness Insider” brain, I couldn’t help but notice that their business model was different, it was fair and based on respect (WHAT!!!??). I immediately signed up and accepted that these girls had gotten “it” right and not because they had a new savvy way of signing up new members or a killer advertising campaign that promised to cure you of all of your body misconceptions, but because they were fun, genuine and knew their Yoga. They lived what they were teaching and they provided a space for peace and contentment to blossom into community pride and action.

With every class I took I knew I wanted/needed more. I joined their first 40 Days To Personal Revolution program and most of those students who were by my side in the program are now an integral part of the PYC Oshawa family to this day. Many have gone on to become teachers, assistants and EE’s.

I am still insanely proud of my career but my eyes have been opened to another way of doing things. One that continuously fuels my soul and my body to this day.

My approach to life is very light hearted and my crazy blended family of 5 keeps me on my toes. I have battled a life-long struggle with my weight and my body (to which I have recently called a cease-fire) I am an avid blogger, writing guest pieces for local sites, working with my cyber partner Lindsay (another lovely PYCOshawa soul) to spread the message of Health and Wellness through words (and Social Media)!

I am seriously stoked to share this space with you all and to continue writing what we are all thinking.

Namaste,

Amber